According to industry experts and cell-phone manufacturers NFC (Near Field Communication) will become a standard function in the near future for short range wireless communication between portable devices.
NFC works on high frequency like Bluetooth but over a shorter range, only a few centimeter and is based on inductive-coupling, where loosely coupled inductive circuits can be used to share power and data between devices.
Some of the application already existing based on NFC is cashless payment, access to restricted areas or as entry ticket, to name a few.
In time for the big scale roll out of NFC, Austrian research teams at Seibersdorf Laboratories and Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) came up with a woven NFC tag for integration into garments.
The new tags use standard NFC RFID chips that are attached to an antenna manufactured from thin copper wire, Seibersdorf scientist Stefan Cecil has told NFC World. The antenna is integrated into the fabric during the textile production process and, while the NFC chip currently then needs to be attached by hand, Cecil expects this process to also be automated in the future.
Whenever I am talking with people about wearable electronic the most burning question is always: can it be washed? It seems the team at the Seibersdorf Laboratories anticipated such question and tested washing cycles at 60°C, spin dried and ironed with a conventional electric iron – without impacting the functionality of the NFC textile tag.
On the technical side of NFC is a big plus point over Bluetooth, it does not need any pairing, it forms an instantaneous form of networking, similar to people that meet on the spot and start
What does this exiting development mean for wearable technology? Imagine having the NFC tag inside a pocket of your garment where you keep your cell-phone. The garment can send it’s information coming from integrated senors monitoring your fitness or work conditions. The cell-phone can either process and visualize the data via an App or send it to the mother-ship in the cloud for processing.
Washing machines equipped with NFC (yes such machines are in the making) can ‘talk’ with the NFC enabled garment and select the required cleaning program.
For the high-tech fashionistas – changing color accents of a high-tech, illuminated dress via an App from the smart phone in the pocket before hitting the party scene is not a vision of the future but can be reality sooner that you might think.
[source: Near Field Communication World]